My daughter was speeding, hit a big hump in the road and lost comtrol of the car. It rolled and a rear wheel was off when the car landed. She’s not sure if wheel came off before or after the car rolled. What is most likely? What causes wheels to come off?
You can lose a wheel when a wheel bearing fails. A wheel can come off if the lug nuts were improperly installed, too tight or too loose. And you can lose a wheel by having it torn off hitting a curb or in an accident.
You will need to examine the car, the accident sceen, and review the police report for evidence. A wheel that comes off due to lug nut failure show up in examining the wheel and the studs on the car. A wheel bearing failure means the wheel will still be attached to the tire and all the lug nuts will be in place. If wheel was torn off there will be damage to the suspension since a lot of force is needed to rip off a wheel.
It might take a trained investigator to weigh the evidence and determine what happened.
Unless it’s obvious to a body shop or highly qualified mechanic, it would be difficult for the police traffic investigator to muster the resources to make that determination if only a misdemeanor or traffic violation has been committed. Otherwise, it may come from your resources to determine that if it isn’t real obvious. Just the revelation she was “speeding” probably will make it difficult to elicit more “expert” help beyond what has been done.